Starting 20th June: フルーツバスケット・Fruits Basket (Collector’s Edition)
The Collector’s Edition covers two volumes of the original edition: those reading eBooks will need to purchase the first two ‘normal’ volumes.
Currently reading: ゆるキャン△・Laid-Back Camp
Welcome to our book club!
In this club we choose a Japanese book together and read it following a weekly schedule. We help each other with grammar, compile a vocabulary sheet together and discuss the story.
We hope that eventually you’ll be able to take the jump to the Intermediate Book Club
If you’re interested, just grab a copy of the upcoming book (we vote ~6 weeks before finishing the current pick) and join in! You are always welcome to ask new questions in the threads of any of our previous picks as well
For a subjective comparison of these picks and pointers on where you might want to start, please see the Comparison Thread.
They are manga unless stated otherwise.
Book 01 | よつばと!・ Yotsuba&! ***
Book 02 | 魔女の宅急便 ・ Kiki’s Delivery Service / novel
| Starting 27 June 2020: repeat club for Kiki’s Delivery Service
Book 03 | Aria; Masterpiece Edition ooo
Book 04 | のんのんびより・ Non Non Biyori
Book 05 | 夏目友人帳 ・ Natsume’s Book of Friends
Book 06 | 時をかける少女 ・ The Girl Who Leapt Through Time / novel
Book 07 | 少女終末旅行 ・ Girls’ Last Tourooo
Book 08 | 銭天堂 ・ The Mysterious Sweet Shop / novel
Book 09 | 一週間フレンズ ・ One Week Friends
Book 10 | ふらいんぐうぃっち ・ Flying Witch ***
Book 11 | 霧のむこうのふしぎな町 ・ Mysterious Town Beyond the Mist / novel
*** currently continuing as an offshoot club
ooo entire series completed as an offshoot club
Which Book Club?
This club is for those beginning to read native books and manga, not beginners to Japanese. We suggest a solid understanding of N5 grammar and at least some of N4.
Our picks vary in difficulty, roughly from relatively easy manga for teens to (older) children’s books. The best way to judge is to look at the sample pages for a particular pick. Remember that it will be easier with everyone’s help though!
Feel free to nominate something you’d like to read using the template below! Suggestions must be appropriate though; please read the guidelines.
Guidelines for Proposing Books
Nominate something you are ready to read
We want to maintain lively discussion throughout the club, so don’t nominate something you yourself will struggle to participate in. You also can’t rely on there being more advanced learners available to help with all questions.
Books must be under 200 pages
This is the most we could tackle within a reasonable timeframe (ideally no more than 16 weeks), but if the book is dense even 200 pages may be too much.
Do not nominate anything clearly NSFW
We try to maintain a wide appeal, so don’t knowingly nominate anything associated with fanservice or gore.
Do not nominate anything difficult to procure
Picks must be readily available at online stores. If no eBook version is available please consider whether it’s still worth nominating and list this clearly as a “con”.
Well-known works are more desirable
Guidance only: the reader pool will be much larger for well-known works, and background knowledge of the premise will make it easier for people to understand the content and help each other out.
Fantasy and Sci-Fi are less desirable
Guidance only: fantasy and sci-fi works often use niche and esoteric vocabulary (on top of intimidating info-dumps). Series which focus on human interaction in a real-life setting tend to provide a lower barrier to entry and higher returns on time invested.
Copy this template into a new post when making a nomination.
For page samples, you can either take photos of your own copy (try to make the three additional pages ‘representative’ if possible), grab photos from the internet, or use eBook previews from e.g. Amazon, Kobo, BookWalker. Make sure the text is legible!
# Insert Title Here
Insert summary here, taken from wherever - Wikipedia, Amazon, etc. Improve the description if you would like / feel it necessary.
Insert purchase links for physical: preferably Amazon JP and CD Japan.
Insert purchase links for digital: preferably Kobo and BookWalker. Mention if an eBook is not available at all and list this in the cons.
## Personal Opinion
Insert why you think this book would be good to read, personally and for the book club.
### Pros and Cons
* Insert pros here.
* Insert cons here.
[details=“First Three Pages of Chapter One”]
Insert images here (can be photos from you or from eBook previews).
Insert a few more representative images here.
## Difficulty Poll
How much effort would you need to read this book?
[poll type=regular public=true]
* 1 - No effort at all
* 2 - Minimal effort
* 3 - Moderate effort
* 4 - Substantial effort
* 5 - So much effort my head might explode
* I don’t know
List of Removed Nominations
|おおかみこどもの雨と雪||Too long (270 pages)
Moved to the intermediate book club
|キノの旅||Too hard / long (213 pages)
Moved to the intermediate book club
Misc discussion available
|放浪息子||Misc discussion available|
|日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本 18冊全巻セット||Moved to the absolute beginners’ club|
|あたしンち||Moved to the absolute beginners’ club|
|しろくまカフェ||Read by the absolute beginners’ club|
|チーズスイートホーム||Read by the absolute beginners’ club|
|聲の形||First volume too depressing on its own!|
See the linked nomination posts for more information, including sample pages.
Follow the comic.pixiv links to read the first chapter or so for free; click the white 試し読み button.
The difficulty scores come from club members voting in the nomination post; you should vote too!
Last updated: 2020-03-10
Manga - Nordic Girl Åsa Discovers the Mysteries of Japan
Convenience store onigiri are way too handy! Why is it that Japanese girls can call just about anything “cute?” The guys at host bars are so hot, they’re like real-life anime characters! These are only some of the mysteries Swedish manga artist Åsa Ekström discovers in this journal comic about her journey from Scandinavia to Japan, which is jam-packed with surprises and laughs!
Difficulty: 2.65 [17 votes]
Manga - Ao's Island and a Cat
The freshly graduated teacher Souta escapes the capital’s buzz and moves to a small island in the inland sea where he wants to start his first job. He is planning to live at his senpai’s place whom he knew from long ago, but when he gets there he discovers that senpai is not there; only his daughter and a cat. So he moves in with the two…
Difficulty: 2.95 [2 votes]
Manga - Shimeji Simulation
A surreal comedy by the author of Girls’ Last Tour, which follows a girl who shut herself in a closet at home for the last two years of middle school, but has now decided to attend high school. On emerging from her closet, she discovers that shimeji mushrooms are sprouting from her head. At her new school, she befriends a girl sporting a fried egg.
Manga - FukaBoku: Love Me For Who I Am
Mogumo, a student who wears a girl’s uniform to school, is invited by a fellow student to work in their family’s cafe. At first, Mogumo is just happy about the cute uniform, but is upset to learn that it is an “otoko no ko” cafe. They gradually get to know the other employees at the cafe, each with their own reasons for working there.
Difficulty: 2.38 [21 votes]
Manga - Skip Beat!
Kyoko Mogami discovers that her childhood friend and romantic goal, Sho Fuwa, only keeps her around to act as a maid and to earn his living expenses, while he works his way to becoming the top pop idol in Japan. Furious and heartbroken, she vows revenge by beating him in show business.
Difficulty: 2.81 [15 votes]
Manga - This Art Club has a Problem!
A girl with violently too much common sense, a boy whose sole ambition is to draw the perfect 2D bride, an addlebrained ghost member, and an always sleeping president - what is wrong with this art club?!
Difficulty: 2.65 [20 votes]
Manga - Haikyuu!!
Shōyō Hinata falls in love with volleyball after seeing a national championship match on TV. Although short, he becomes determined to follow in the footsteps of the “Little Giant”. However, his dreams are destroyed in his first match, where his team suffers a crushing defeat against a team including so-called “King of the Court” Tobio Kageyama. Hinata vows to defeat Kageyama, only for the two to wind up as unlikely team mates.
Difficulty: 2.70 [10 votes]
Manga - Magi
Deep within the deserts lie the mysterious Dungeons; vast stores of riches there for the taking by anyone lucky enough to find them, and brave enough to venture into the depths from which few have ever returned. Plucky young adventurer Aladdin means to do so, but he may be just as mysterious as the treasure he seeks…
Manga - Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun
At Kamone Academy, rumours claim that if one successfully summons Hanako-san, the ghost of a girl said to haunt the school’s bathrooms, she will grant you any wish. Many people have tried, but all have failed. However, when Nene Yashiro dares to summon Hanako-san, hoping for romantic fortune, she becomes embroiled in the world of the supernatural…
Manga - Great Detective Conan
Shinichi Kudou, a great mystery expert at only seventeen, gets into trouble after witnessing some disturbing illegal activity. Dosed with an experimental drug and left to die, he is astonished to live and wake up in the body of a seven-year-old. Hiding his identity, he takes on the alias of Conan Edogawa…
Difficulty: 3.33 [18 votes]
Book - The Story of Kuuku the Bear Cub
Kuuku and his friends live and grow within the lush nature of a forest, where Kuuku’s parents run a restaurant, “Forest’s Kitchen”. The book includes eight moving stories, and delicious recipes from the restaurant!
Difficulty: 2.17 
Book - Scary Lessons
A girl, Yomi - a creature without legs - leads us through a world of horror, which slumbers in the midst of everyday life and lies in wait to pounce on the unsuspecting. Terrible things will happen to anyone foolish enough to tangle with it!
Difficulty: 3.15 [27 votes]
Where to Purchase Books
This section explains where to buy Japanese books in general; see the nominations above for links to purchase specific books.
Purchasing Japanese Books
Note that you need a separate account for each ‘instance’ of Amazon, so you won’t be able to use Amazon JP with e.g. your French Amazon account. Amazon adds an estimated customs charge to your bill which will be refunded if you don’t have to pay customs (or pay less).
CDJapan has economy shipping options which take longer to arrive but cost less.
If you can’t find an online store that will ship to you, you can use a forwarding service like Tenso or White Rabbit Express. If you live in the right place, you may also be able to find the book at a local Japanese book store such as Kinokuniya; just Google your area.
Sirvorn has a wonderful guide to purchasing eBooks from Amazon JP.
"Next Book" Polls
Winner links go to the original nominations.
- Book Poll 9 - Winner: ゆるキャン and フルーツバスケット
Book Poll 8 - Winner: ふらいんぐうぃっち
Runoff Poll - Winner: 霧のむこうのふしぎな町
- Book Poll 7 - Winner: 一週間フレンズ
- Book Poll 6 - Winner: 少女終末旅行 and ふしぎ駄菓子屋 銭天堂
- Book Poll 5 - Winner: 時をかける少女
- Book Poll 4 - Winner: のんのんびより and 夏目友人帳
- Book Poll 3 - Winner: Aria the Masterpiece
- Book Poll 2 - Winner: 魔女の宅急便
Book Poll 1 - Winner: よつばと！
Poll to decide what to do when the winner is a short manga (~4-6 weeks of reading)
- Result: read first volume of winner, followed by first volume of runner-up
Poll to decide whether book club topics should be moved to the
- Result: move everything
Poll to decide how long “next book” polls should stay open
- Result: 1 week
Poll to decide how many votes “next book” polls should allow per user
- Result: no limit
Poll to decide whether to create a 2nd Book Club for beginners
- Result: yes!